Friends of the East Broad Top
A nonprofit society dedicated to the preservation and restoration
of the East Broad Top Railroad National Historic Landmark
Things we do

East Broad Top Railroad Begins New Season

by Deane Mellander and Chris Coleman
Photos by Deane Mellander except as noted

Originally published in the Timber Transfer, Vol. 15, No. 4, Spring 1999

The yard tour
EBT General Manager Stanley Hall leads FEBT Gathering participants on a tour of the shops and roundhouse.
Chris Coleman photo

In this era of records and statistics, few tourist steam railroads can match the longevity of the East Broad Top. For 39 straight years, the EBT has ferried thousands upon thousands of riders along the valley of the Aughwick. Perhaps only the Durango and Silverton and Strasburg railroads can boast longer operating records. The EBT renewed its record on June 5, when No. 14 went back in harness once again. About 35 FEBT members were on hand to mark the occasion. Vagel Keller, Vice President-Member Services, provided registration materials. We had a couple of non-members also register, which will hopefully lead to their joining FEBT.

After the first train of the day returned to Orbisonia depot, General Manager Stanley Hall led a group on a tour of the shops. Hope was expressed that the recently-announced approval of a TEA-21 grant from the state will be followed by the necessary future steps, leading to the start of stabilization of the Rockhill shop complex. After the last train arrived, members who wished assembled for a walking tour of Saltillo, led by FEBT President Hank Inman.

EBT 2-8-2 #14
Number 14 displays her typical Baldwin visage-plain rounded smokebox door, high headlight and rounded domes, as she awaits the return trip from Colgate Grove.

The group then reassembled in the Old Post Office in Robertsdale. A grill was produced, and an impromptu barbeque ensued. This was followed by a presentation by Vagel Keller on the "Rural Rust Belt", being a history of the iron industry in south-central Pennsylvania. Vagel also had some general railroad interest slides for those who wished to stay after the formal presentation. The photo of 13 year old Vagel riding the EBT, with a MUCH younger Stanley Hall as conductor, was priceless.

Sunday began with a walking tour of the Rockhill yard, led by Chris Coleman. The tour ended with a visit to the water reservoir ponds back behind the coal dock. Most of the remaining attendees seemed to be on the second train of the day. Noted was the replacement of the wicker furniture in the "Orbisonia" with leather office-type chairs and a new chaise.

It was an excellent outing. We look forward to getting together again at the Reunion in October.

EBT M-1
The M-1 gas-electric made a brief, but welcome appearance during opening day for the EBT on June 5th.
EBT M-1
Number 14 and train steam north at McMullen Summit with the 3:00 train on opening day of the 1999 season.
At the depot
Vagel Keller, Vice-President-Member Services, hands out registration materials on the Orbisonia depot platform prior to the departure of the first train of the 1999 season.
Checking around #14
Engineer Tom Holder checks around No. 14 prior to the start of operations.
 



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